BROOKLYN, NY--(Marketwired - August 11, 2016) - Shema Kolainu, a school serving the needs of autistic children and their families, recently held its Annual Legislative Breakfast, featuring an array of local elected officials and community leaders from across the city who all voiced their commitments to the special needs community.

Dr. Joshua Weinstein, founder of Shema Kolainu, opened the event by expressing his deep gratitude to the dedicated parents, Shema Kolainu staff, elected officials, proudly declaring that since "day one at Shema Kolainu, we started with miracles, and the miracles have never ceased,"

Also among those in attendance were NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, State Senator Felder, Councilmembers Andrew Cohen and David Greenfield. Parent Ethel Gavrilova described the staff at the Shema Kolainu school as "persistent" and "incredibly brave." Dr. Weinstein lauded the efforts of Council member Cohen who chairs the NYC Council Committee on Mental Health for ensuring that the budget allocates funding for the autism initiative.

Dr. Alan Kadish, President and CEO of the Touro College and University System was awarded the Excellence in Education Leadership Award and the artwork of Shema Kolainu students. As one of the leading higher education institutions, Touro College boasts of 18,000 students enrolled in 32 schools over 4 countries.

Public Advocate Tish James emphasized the symbolism of the art presented to Dr. Kadish as it is "the best... and most effective way [the students] can communicate... this is artwork of their world that we should enjoy and share with others."

Shema Kolainu also awarded Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services, the City Leadership Award. Dr. Weinstein in presenting her with a painting by the children of Shema Kolainu, said to her, "I'm presenting you this humble award to a humble person." She stated, "When our children and neighborhoods are healthy, our communities are healthy, and our city thrives."

Comptroller Stringer commended the hard work of the honorees and others, delivering a heartfelt message that as "parents and grandparents and guardians... when we look at our children, we think they can do anything they want even if they don't start the race of life in the same way as other kids. We always believe that they can aspire to be anything they want... and Shema Kolainu levels the playing field for all of our children."

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Shema Kolainu - Hear Our Voices